News Corp snags APN newspapers for $36m

Media giant News Corp has bought APN News & Media’s Australian regional newspaper division (ARM) for $36m, leaving APN with no newspapers in its portfolio.

The deal was wrapped up last night, and News Corp will soon – subject to regulatory approval – own APN’s tranche of 12 daily and some 60 non-daily regional mastheads.

APN’s plans to offload its regional news began in February as part of the group’s efforts to refocus talent in radio, outdoor and digital advertising. The ARM sale signifies the media group’s complete exit from print publishing.

APN chairman Peter Cosgrove says, “The divestment of ARM is an historic day for the company as APN has been the custodian of some wonderful newspapers whose community roots go back over 150 years.

“We are now passing that ownership onto another media group with deep publishing experience across regional Australia.”

[Related: APN News and Media profit loss]

News Corp went head to head with Singapore-based social media giant Fetch Plus, which had also lodged a binding offer for the sale.

The $36m agreement remains subject to shareholder approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), as does APN’s plans to demerge from its NZ division NZME.

Before the deal, News Corp already held a 14.99 percent stake in APN and was optioned as the most natural buyer by industry analysts.

APN’s Australian Regional Media titles include a raft of Queensland mastheads, as well as several Northern NSW titles.

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